Heart Valve Disease

Condition Basics

What are the types of heart valve disease?

Heart valve disease can affect any of the four valves. A valve may not be able to open well enough (stenosis) or close well enough (regurgitation). Heart valve diseases include:

How does your heart's pumping system work?

Your heart is divided into two separate pumping systems-right and left:

  • The right side of your heart receives oxygen-poor blood from your veins and pumps it to your lungs to take up fresh oxygen.
  • The left side of your heart receives oxygen-rich blood from your lungs and pumps it through your arteries to your body.

Your heart has four separate chambers that pump blood—two on the right side and two on the left side:

  • Right atrium
  • Right ventricle
  • Left atrium
  • Left ventricle

Blood travels through your heart and lungs in four steps. In each step, it must pass through a valve.

  • Step 1: The right atrium receives oxygen-poor blood from the body and pumps it through the tricuspid valve to the right ventricle.
  • Step 2: The right ventricle pumps the oxygen-poor blood through the pulmonary valve to the lungs.
  • Step 3: The left atrium receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and pumps it through the mitral valve to the left ventricle.
  • Step 4: The left ventricle pumps the oxygen-rich blood through the aortic valve to the entire body.

Credits

Current as of: January 10, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Michael P. Pignone MD, MPH, FACP - Internal Medicine

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.